Online banking allows you to manage your bank account transactions from a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can view balances, download transactions, pay bills, check out a credit card or make a deposit with a digital photo of a check. It’s a great way to keep track of your money and stay on budget.
Most banks allow you to access online banking via a computer, tablet or smartphone that has internet access. Some have apps that make it easier to use online banking, including Regions Bank’s app, which has a number of useful features such as mobile bill pay and a Zelle integration that allows you to transfer funds directly from your bank account to another person’s. Some mobile apps also offer virtual assistants such as Erica, which can help you track spending and account activity.
With online banking, you can do your bank business at any time of day or night, from anywhere that has internet access. It’s important to remember, though, that even if you bank exclusively online, it doesn’t mean that your bank or credit union is closed. During times of social distancing or quarantine, many banks and credit unions may limit their services to include offering accounts online only, operating through drive-thru windows or limiting in-person service to certain groups, such as seniors.
To sign up for online banking, you’ll need an email address and a unique user name and password. Most banks have a website with easy-to-follow guides that walk you through the process of setting up your account. You’ll also need your account number and a form of verification, such as an ATM/debit card number and PIN, or a Customer Number, which is typically provided at the time of account opening. Some online-only banks require additional security measures such as a security code that you receive via text message or a password generated by the bank’s automated system.
Once you’ve set up an online bank account, it’s a good idea to regularly reconcile your transactions with those on your bank statement to ensure that all transactions are accurate. It’s also a good idea to avoid public Wi-Fi networks when accessing your account, and keep antivirus software updated.
The primary difference between online and traditional banking is convenience. It’s much easier to do your banking remotely when you have an online bank account, allowing you to do it from home, work or on vacation. While there is a learning curve to using online banking, most banks offer simple guides and video tutorials that can help you get started. With tighter security measures, it’s also more safe to do your online banking than it was in the past. For many people, however, the personal touch of a local bank or credit union is still worth keeping, especially if they’ve been dealing with the same bank for years and have built a relationship with a dedicated banker. Fortunately, many small local banks and credit unions have added online banking to their lineup of services so that they can continue to meet the needs of their customers.